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Régine Crespin in Recital
The larger-than-life Régine Crespin, made only one song recital record for Decca, of music by Schumann, Wolf, Debussy and Poulenc. This is the first time the entire recital has been made available on CD.
As her career progressed, Crespin became associated with certain roles – Kundry, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde, Tosca, the Marschallin – but she was prodigiously versatile, thanks to her years in the French provinces. An intelligent singer who understood how to make the texts count, Crespin also had tremendous success in non-operatic repertory. Her 1963 Decca recording, with conductor Ernest Ansermet, of Berlioz’s Les Nuits d'été and Ravel’s Shéhérazade, is regarded as among the best available. In its original French, her candid and entertaining autobiography is called La vie et l'amour d'une femme, which is also the French translation of Schumann's song cycle Frauenliebe und -leben. Indeed, Lieder by Schumann and Wolf were important parts of her recital repertory, and she brought the same depth of meaning to their German texts as she did to her Wagnerian roles. Of course French, being her native language, evoked a most immediate and intimate response from this singer.
This release marks the launch of an Eloquence series of notable recitals of songs and opera arias by some of the great voices of Decca and Deutsche Grammophon.
“Seven songs by Poulenc, in pungent and marvellously characterised performances, form the highlight of this 1967 recital of Crespin in her prime. Her Wolf and Schumann are also irresistable.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 ****
“It is difficult, indeed I find it impossible, to think of any soprano capable of singing Brünnhilde, as Régine Crespin has done, who is also capable of making a success of such a varied programme as this recital offers, but this she most certainly has achieved from start to finish. […] She has in John Wustman a pianist truly worthy of her, sensitive to every mood and nuance. […] I can give no higher praise to Crespin's singing of Debussy's Chansons de Bililis than to say it does not suffer from comparison with Maggie Teyte's. […]The balance between voice and piano is very good, and so here is everything for our delight. This is, indeed, one of the finest song recitals of recent times and I most warmly and enthusiastically recommend it” Gramophone Magazine
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Recorded: Geneva, September 1963; Kingsway Hall, May 1967
“Sumptuous of tone, supremely sensitive, Crespin was born to illuminate the art of French song. Whether floating the seductive allure of Ravel or revelling in the wit of Poulenc these recordings were and remain classics.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2006 *****
“Ravel's magically sensuous writing finds the ideal interpreter in Regine Crespin...The sheer richness of tone of the singer's tone does not prevent her from bringing out the delicate languor required by an exquisite song like The enchanted flute...This is ravishing...This CD is one of the great glories of recorded music.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition
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Jan DeGaetani and Gilbert Kalish in Concert
Songs (3) , Op. 83
Abendlied unter'm gestirten Himmel, WoO 150
Three Early Songs
Fêtes galantes - Set 2
Arianna a Naxos, cantata, Hob.XXVIb/2
Chansons villageoises: Les gars qui vont à la fête
A sa guitare
Métamorphoses: C'est ainsi que tu es
Main dominée par le coeur
Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1
Ich trage meine Minne, Op. 32 No. 1
Ruhe, meine Seele!, Op. 27 No. 1
All mein Gedanken ... Op. 21 No. 1
Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4
To many observers, no artist has ever replaced the great mezzo-soprano, Jan DeGaetani, as an interpreter of contemporary song. Writing of her, New York Times critic Harold C. Schonberg called her “the finest song recitalist that the United States has ever produced.”
DeGaetani, with her magnificent duo-partner, Gilbert Kalish, performed together for thirty-years, the partnership ending with DeGaetani's death in 1989. This two-CD set gives us one of their final recitals together, and includes the wide-ranging repertoire that these two artists were known for.
“her voice here retains all of the qualities that made it so special, and her artistry remains undiminished...The generosity of the programme mirrors the same quality in DeGaetani's musical nature...Unreservedly recommended.” International Record Review, November 2011
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Régine Crespin - French Songs
Ravishing singing and sultry colours make this coupling irresistable: you may favour Janet Baker's very different approach but I've adored this recording for 30 years - James Jolly, Gramophone 1000th issue
“With recent recordings by Bernarda Fink, Susan Graham, Felicity Lott, there has been no shortage of Shéhérazades for our 21st century. But back in 1963 Régine Crespine recorded a performance that recreated Ravel's score in unsurpassed truthfulness of letter and spirit.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2007
“Scandalously available only as a download in many countries, Crespin's Nuits dété has always been the interpretation by which others have been assessed and, listening to it again, there's no reason to challenge the verdict.
Sultry, langourous yet sung with a richness of tone, this is a classic version this ravishing work. Ansermet accompanies exquisitely.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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